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Quality in Education: Evaluation

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What we all want for our children is a quality education that provides them with a strong basis for their future endeavors. Frequently, definitions for quality hark back to W. Edward Deming who taught a philosophy of continual improvement to achieve higher quality. As part of his management philosophy, he maintained that evaluation of employee performance was counterproductive. The Connecticut evaluation system for teachers is counterproductive because it depends more on poverty in the community than teacher performance. It needs to be stopped before it seriously erodes the quality of the education system.

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Duck

Housatonic Principal Ian Strever (l) and Region 1 Vice-Chairman Jennifer Weigel

Housatonic Principal Ian Strever (l) and Region 1 Vice-Chairman Jennifer Weigel

This week, the Region 1 Board of Education held a relatively quiet meeting with no budgetary concerns. They approved a new German text book. They declined to pursue a Freedom of Information ruling against a board member. Business Manager Sam Herrick reported on the expected year-end financial status. Housatonic Principal Ian Strever passed on the first draft of the “Bring Your Own Device” policy as written by the faculty. He also described a new daily schedule for the high school that seemed more compact. Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain said that the search for a new high school Principal had moved to the interview stage with six candidates. She also updated the job description for the media para professional. Board member Phil Hart discussed the yearly award for community involvement in education. And several students from a Sociology class presented a suggested survey on student sexual attitudes and practices.

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No Vending Machines

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Apparently, healthy food cannot be dispensed by vending machines. This week, the Kent Board of Education moved to accept the federal guidelines for healthy food along with its monetary pittance, excluding vending machines. However, they made sure to include exceptions for the Chocolate Fest. They also reviewed an update to their residency policy after last year’s debacle. And, they seemed relieved that the Board of Finance had accepted their latest budget at this point in the process.

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All Quiet on the Western Front

Region 1 Chairman Andrea Downes

Region 1 Chairman Andrea Downes

Almost no one spoke at the public hearing for the budget of Region 1. Business Manager Sam Herrick went over the 2014-2015 budgets for Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Regional Pupil Services and the Regional School Services Center (RSSC) central office. Housatonic Principal Ian Strever defended the increases in his budget. Director of Pupil Services Carl Gross defended the increases in his budget. The Region 1 Board of Education voted to send a projected budget of $15,150,377 to the public for approval. But, with sparse public attendance, few questions were asked.

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Region 1 Public Hearing 2014

Regional School District Number One Board of Education will conduct a PUBLIC HEARING regarding the proposed 2014-2015 Regional Budget in Room 133 at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The public is invited to attend and receive copies of the proposed budget. All electors and citizens qualified to vote in the towns of Canaan, Cornwall, Kent, North Canaan, Salisbury, and Sharon are invited to attend. The current projected budget is $15,150,377 for a 4.92% increase.

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Follow the Money

ABC committee with Superintendent Chamberlain

ABC committee with Superintendent Chamberlain

Last night, the All Boards Chairmen (ABC) committee met for their regular monthly meeting. They spent significant time reviewing and updating the form for the evaluation of the Superintendent of Schools Patricia Chamberlain. Then they started a discussion with Region 1 Chairman Andrea Downs about the use of regional attorney Gary Brochu to review their compliance with state statute. Finally, they broached the subject of apportionment of costs to each school district when they reach a new agreement.

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A Quick Ending

Business Manager Sam Herrick

Business Manager Sam Herrick

Thursday evening, the Region 1 Board of Education held its final budget workshop prior to the public hearing. The meeting was soon over. The discussions centered on technology and the IT position at the high school. Business Manager Sam Herrick presented the final updates for both the high school and special education. The final budget is $15,150,377 for a total increase of 4.92%. The public hearing is set for April 2, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in Room 133 at Housatonic Valley Regional High School.

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Legal Advice

Region 1 Attorney Gary Brochu

Region 1 Attorney Gary Brochu

This week, the All Boards Chairmen committee met to discuss educational management of Region 1. They heard from regional attorney Gary Brochu with regard to the policy under which they operate, specifically the 7000 series. Brochu opined that their current policy did not meet state statuary requirements. He said that they needed a written agreement between all seven boards of education in order to employ a Superintendent of Schools. He went further and suggested that they need a second written agreement to handle the management of shared services like the transportation contract and special education as well as employment of central office personnel. The committee decided to take his written suggestions to each of the local boards and then hold a meeting of all 45 board members.

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The Housatonic Principal

Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain

Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain

Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain has asked the community to give input through an online survey.  In particular, she said, “As Superintendent, I welcome your input to give you the opportunity to participate in the HVRHS principal search process and we will use your input in developing interview questions. Once the principal is hired your responses will be given to him/her as background information on HVRHS. The deadline for completing the survey is Friday, March 21, 2014. Thank you for participating!”

The Survey Is Here

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The Health of the Budget

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This week, the Kent Board of Education approved their budget after presenting it to most of the Board of Finance. The budget of Kent Center School is increasing by 5.92% to $4,395,326. Chairman Paul Cortese said that 4.77% of that is healthcare insurance, salaries, and transportation which cannot be changed. Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain gave projections for future enrollment; KCS enrollment was relatively stable. In addition, the board approved 8 tuition students from outside the region.

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